The Opening of The Trout-Lily Trail May 5th, 2018

© J.N. Urbanski

Immediately following our Wild Saturday presentation on May 5th at 1pm, the opening of the Trout-Lily trail will take place.

The Trout-Lily trail marks a significant development in the maintenance of Woodchuck Lodge, as this new trail is actually part of a partially restored footpath that was developed by Dr. John Lutz, great grand nephew of John Burroughs and founder of Woodchuck Lodge, Inc, winding up into the hill behind the woodshed. We cleared blow-down, brushed back the undergrowth, improved the footing and constructed an inviting stone staircase at the base that reflects the era of creativity, simplicity and permanence reminiscent of John Burroughs, the naturalist, returning the path to its glory days. Continue reading “The Opening of The Trout-Lily Trail May 5th, 2018”

Wild Saturdays Lecture Series Begins on May 5th at Woodchuck Lodge

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John Burroughs Woodchuck Lodge’s Wild Saturday Series begins on May 5th, 2018 at 1pm at Woodchuck Lodge, with “Alien Invaders in Burroughs Backyard”, a talk by John Thompson, Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership Coordinator.

John will update us on how Catskill forests have changed since John Burroughs tramped through these woods. Forests are now threatened by the introduction of species that would be unfamiliar to Burroughs. There will be discussion of invasive species and what we can do to help protect the Catskill Mountains for the future. This is a chance for all to learn how to identify the top pests that are killing our trees. It’s estimated that the Emerald Ash Borer will have destroyed all the ash trees in the Catskills in a couple of years. Hemlock Wooly Adelgid is hard at work on our beloved hemlock.

This event takes place at Woodchuck Lodge, 1633 Burroughs Memorial Road, Roxbury, NY 12474 at 1pm on May 5th, 2018. All are welcome.

Free, guided tours of Woodchuck Lodge are offered the first weekend of the month, May to October, Saturday and Sunday, 11am to 3pm.

Immediately following John’s lecture, the opening of our new Trout-Lily trail will take place. The Trout-Lily trail is modest and gentle, suitable for young and old alike, running through a small forested area, into the meadow and opening up into spectacular views of Delaware County, the kind of views that Burroughs himself enjoyed one hundred years ago, when the area was rolling meadow and farmland.

© J.N. Urbanski


The Bluebird by John Burroughs

The Bluebird

A wistful note from out the sky,
“Pure, pure, pure,” in plaintive tone,
As if the wand’rer were alone,
And hardly knew to sing or cry.

But now a flash of eager wing,
Flitting, twinkling by the wall,
And pleading sweet and am’rous call,–
Ah, now I know his heart doth sing!

O bluebird, welcome back again,
Thy azure coat and ruddy vest
Are hues that April loveth best,–
Warm skies above the furrowed plain.

The farm boy hears thy tender voice,
And visions come of crystal days,
With sugar-camps in maple ways,
And scenes that make his heart rejoice.

The lucid smoke drifts on the breeze,
The steaming pans are mantling white,
And thy blue wing’s a joyous sight,
Among the brown and leafless trees.

Now loosened currents glance and run,
And buckets shine on sturdy boles,
The forest folk peep from their holes,
And work is play from sun to sun.

The Downy beats his sounding limb,
The nuthatch pipes his nasal call,
And robin perched on treetop tall
Heavenward lifts his evening hymn.

Now go and bring thy homesick bride,
Persuade her here is just the place
To build a home and found a race
In Downy’s cell, my lodge beside.

5th Annual Burroughs Catskills Community Day Lecture at the Catskill Center in Arkville

© J.N. Urbanski

5th Annual Burroughs Catskills Community Day Lecture at the Catskill Center in Arkville.

Leslie T. Sharpe, naturalist and author of “The Quarry Fox and Other Wild Critters of the Catskills” delivered a lecture on “John Burroughs and H.D. Thoreau: The Roots of American Nature Writing” on April 14th at 1pm at The Catskills Center in Arkville. A birthday celebration for John Burroughs was included. Turnout was good and the lecture was a wild walk through our local history. We thank Leslie for her lecture and her devoted writings on the natural world.

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John Burroughs’ Apple Orchard Gets a Pruning

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March 27th was an auspicious day. Ryan Trapani of the Catskill Forest Association led a team who pruned the old apple trees in the orchard at Woodchuck Lodge. Overhead flew a buzzard with wings like long feathered fingers.

As far as we can gather, the trees have never been pruned, so Woodchuck Lodge will participate in the CFA’s tree pruning program that will take place annually over the course of the next three years at least. All the dead applewood was removed into a pile the size of a small truck. The one tree closest to the road, (pictured immediately below) was in the worst shape and less than half the boughs on its gnarly bark remain.

© J.N. Urbanski

The resultant pruned tree, looking rather like the house of a fairytale character or mythical creature, is one of our historical natural landmarks. When these trees were planted, there would have been no trees in the area and Burroughs would have enjoyed sweeping views of the Catskill Mountains in south, east and westerly directions. Some apple trees had to be felled because they were in too much of that shade.

Last year’s apples were abundant and board members picked them and used them in pies. In two years, we will consider grafting the trees to cultivate a new apple, but firstly the trees will given some time to stabilize. “Pruning is a shock,” says board member Patti Rudge.

Structural pruning of the trees will increase air circulation and sunlight through the tree, which reduces the chance of insects and diseases. The improved structure will enhance the tree’s ability to create fruit buds, withstand fruit load or wind load and the weight of bears.

© J.N. Urbanski
© J.N. Urbanski